“A stirring history of the tribal sovereignty movement.”—Publishers Weekly
Reservations, long mired in poverty and oppression, have become rallying points for Native American society, according to this stirring history of the tribal sovereignty movement. Energized by the Civil Rights movement's gains and pressing their claims under long-dormant treaties, Indian tribes have taken control of reservation government from an autocratic Bureau of Indian Affairs, regained lost lands, asserted hunting and fishing rights, jump-started reservation economic development and revived Indian languages and culture. Wilkinson (American Indians, Time, and the Law; etc.), formerly an attorney for the Native American Rights Fund and now a law professor at the University of Colorado, ranges widely over the sovereignty movement, emphasizing the court cases-like the Pacific Northwest salmon controversies and the wrangles over reservation gambling-that have expanded tribal rights. His sympathetic treatment extols the movement's success in redressing historic injustices, but sometimes skates too easily over difficulties in squaring ethnically based sovereignty with principles of democracy and equal citizenship. (He cites one reservation on which 50 Indians controlled a tribal government claiming jurisdiction over 3,000 non-Indian residents.) And he sometimes defends Native American prerogatives by invoking a cultural uniqueness-Indians' spiritual connection to the land, for example, may entitle them to "flexibility" in complying with environmental laws-that smacks of essentialism. But the story of the Native American renaissance is an inspiring one, and this book marks a deserving chapter. Photos. (Jan.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.